Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, great mystery, good depth
Cons: Rebecca a couple of times, but offset by growth
The Bottom Line:
Murder of mentor
In this fantastic debut
Fabulous, fun read
The Truth Is I Loved This Debut
Who doesn’t love popcorn? Okay, so I’ll admit I’m not usually a fan of flavored popcorn, but I do enjoy plain popcorn with just a tad of butter and salt. Naturally, that means that the first in the Popcorn Shop Mysteries was on my radar as soon as I heard about it. And the more I heard about Kernel of Truth, the more excited I was to read it. I just finally read it, and I only wish I’d read it sooner.
Rebecca Anderson did not expect her morning to start with a scream. Yet that’s what happens when a scream interrupts her as she is preparing caramel sauce for her breakfast popcorn bars. Investigating, she finds Jessica James standing over the body of Coco Bittles, who owns the chocolate shop next door to Rebecca’s popcorn shop. Jessica was Coco’s niece and worked part time in the shop.
It looks like Coco’s death was a case of wrong place, wrong time since her cash for the day is missing. Rebecca’s best friend and brother-in-law Dan, who also happens to be the sheriff, doesn’t seem to be making much progress in the case. Since Coco was a mentor to Rebecca, she cares about the outcome and starts poking around herself. Can she figure out who killed Coco? Was it a simple robbery gone wrong? And will Rebecca alienate the entire town before the case is closed?
That last question proves to be an important one since this is the town where Rebecca grew up, and she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder for how she was treated in the past. Her actions here don’t necessarily help, and even I got frustrated with her a time or two.
I actually liked this aspect of the book because by the time the story was over, we got to see some real growth in Rebecca. This made her a richer, deeper character that I enjoyed getting to know and could really feel for.
Part of that growth comes from Rebecca’s group of friends and relatives. I absolutely loved them! They are strong, fun characters in their own right, but they lovingly whack Rebecca upside the head when she needs it.
The plot is certainly strong as well. As the book unfolds, we learn more about Rebecca’s relationship with Coco, and that helps us understand her drive to solve the murder. It also lends a bit of gravity to the book, which is offset by some fun humor. There are a good number of developed suspects that keep us guessing until we reach the great climax.
Of course, we get some gourmet popcorn related recipes at the end of the book. As I said, I’m not normally a fan because I find gourmet popcorn too sweet, but these three recipes certainly do sound tempting.
If this book hasn’t popped onto your to be read pile yet, you need to fix that today. The many elements come together for a wonderful series debut in Kernel of Truth.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book in hopes I would review it.